Derek Crowell, Ward 1 Council candidate, is proposing a “blackout period” for incumbents in the weeks leading up to future municipal elections.
Crowell says that the obvious advantage incumbents enjoy during an election campaign can be abused. “It has been interesting to witness the amount of activity that has come out of City Hall in the last few weeks. I would suggest that more than a few of these announcements have been politically motivated.” Crowell says a “blackout period” would level the playing field and help ensure that city resources arenʼt being abused.
Crowell would like to see a by-law enacted, similar to that of the City of Ottawa, which would restrict the activity of the mayor and council during the final weeks of an election campaign. “A by-law like this would mean incumbents wouldnʼt be able to use City Hall as their podium in the prime campaigning period. Incumbents would be forced to campaign as their challengers do – by meeting face-to-face with their constituents.”
The City of Ottawa has expanded on the Ontario Municipal Elections Act with an “Elections-Related Resources Policy” which came into effect at midnight on August 28th and is effective up to and including voting day on October 27th. Crowell says staff that work on election campaigns should take vacation time to do so. “The Ottawa by-law goes beyond making use of city resources and staff for campaigning prohibited, and details what types of events incumbents may attend and the types of promotion they may use. Generally, I dislike more regulation, but sometimes this is the only way to curb abuse of the system.”